KMart: Our Disorganized Stores Make You a Thief

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Here is a ridiculous story that appeared in the WSJ. This woman was shopping at a KMart in Bridgehampton, NY with her family looking at flip-flops, among other things. Per the account in the article, the area with the flip-flops were a mess, with some in boxes, some not, some not in the right boxes. She goes through and finally finds her size, but since they weren’t in a box she searched through the mess to find the box. She finally finds a box with the right size marked she assumes is the right one, puts the flip-flops in the box, and proceeds to checkout.

She checks out with the flip-flops and is walking through the exit when she gets the tap on the shoulder from the loss prevention associate for the store. Apparently the box she put the flip-flops in was not the right box, and she had accidentally short changed the store a whopping $8.00. Instead of allowing her to pay the difference for the honest mistake, they detain her for over an hour accusing her of shoplifting. Apparently they thought she was doing a shoplifting scam where tags or boxes or switched to get high priced goods at the price of a lower priced item.

The long and short is that she was finally allowed to leave, but not before being banned from KMart. She sent a letter to the KMart Director of Loss Prevention, who backed up his employee claiming that they did nothing wrong.

The saddest part of this is they didn’t even let her keep the flip-flops! They ended up processing a return for the flip-flops refunding her money for the lower price paid.

Keep that story in mind the next time you are considering buying something from a poorly organized store where you aren’t sure what is the right box.


October 4, 2007 - Posted by | Customer Service


  1. This may be the exception if in fact, that is, what really ocurred. Unfortunately, that usually isn’t the story and the person is a thief and a good one and knows the system and knows how to play the system. I’ve seen shoplifters with thousands of dollars in their pockets and hundreds of thousands in jewelry on their person and they still come into a store and steal–and sometimes something small and of minimal value just because of the thrill or just sick in the head.

    Comment by Ed Henson | October 5, 2007

  2. All the shoes that have shoeboxes that I have bought came with pictures of the shoes on them. Also they would have the UPC codes on them so you could check to see if they are the same numbers. I can’t believe that that she did it the way she says….Every shoe dept has the sizes in different places. Why would you think that a child’s nine is in the same place as women’s? I say she was guilty…

    Comment by Anita Zahand | October 5, 2007

  3. It is possible that the children’s and adult clip clops were mixed together, but it is hard ot belive that a box for a child’s shoe would be big enough for an adult size 9. I think these stores need to be less sloppy.

    Comment by Maria | October 5, 2007

  4. K-Mart went down the tubes years ago,not everyone is a thief trying to steal.Some people can and do make an honest mistake,If the people in K-mart did there job right then this woman wouldn’t of needed to box her own shoes.Also if and when she gets to the cash register then a price check needs to be done,that’s another 15 min standing in line upsetting people behind you.I stopped shopping in this store years ago.There stuff is garbage and made cheap,there store is always a mess with iles you can’t even get through.The store did this woman a favor,Wal-Mart is run alot better plus it’s alot cleaner,the cloths are made alot better to and the bathrooms are cleaner.I could see this happening to someone innocent and if you think it can’t happen to you than wake up,it may not be the same episode that happened to her,maybe something a little different but I feel that security should proceede with caution when stopping someone.

    Comment by Unhappy Shopper. | October 5, 2007

  5. I have seen a similar incident in K-Mart with a twist. the cashier said among other things, that the shoe dept is a vendor, not owned by k-mart. about twenty five percent go out in the wrong box and its too much trouble to try and match each and every shoe to the box. they know the problem well. an attorney would be able to retire if they had this ladys case, she could be a millionaire several times over if she so choses to take legal action. not one of the comments above have any facts in them. imamature juviniles must have written the two previous comments.

    Comment by jose lopez | October 5, 2007

  6. I have decided to ban myself from kmart for life.I have already banned myself from malwart. both have cheap chinese crap. no one in their right mind would shop there in the first place.

    Comment by box car willie | October 5, 2007

  7. I would have been raising holy hell in that store…and I would have insisted on talking to the store manager. Face it folks…KMART is the craphole of the big discount stores…they are always dirty, disorganized, merchandise on the floor – and good luck finding an employee…I can totally see what happened to her. She should contact SEARS national offices Customer Hotline and raise hell…and then when rectified…shop at a nice clean TARGET where the stuff is tagged and organized…UNBELIEVABLE!

    Comment by Dan Jordan | October 5, 2007

  8. Nobody understands the scum of shoplifters, they say and do anything to weasel thier way out of being apprehended. Maybe if this lady wasnt such a lazy ass idiot, by the way I think she did it on purpose, she was trying to see if she could get away with it…Ive seen that before, someone buys a ton of crap and then goes and steals a cologne and they say “oh I forgot I had it in my hand” or something stupid like that. So anyways she got caught and now shes trying to make a big deal about it so people think it was a mistake. The LP agent only gave her a first name becasue honestly I wouldnt guve my last name to a shoplifter, how do I know they wont look me up online or a phonebook..I dont know how crazy this person is or what they might do. Typical trash trying to get rich by a lawsuit, trying to spin something around

    Comment by ELVIS | October 6, 2007

  9. It is important to know, that if stopped by store security in MOST stores, you have absolutely no obligation to go with them, you can walk away as they ask you to go inside. Of course they can call the police, but the security themselves have no legal right to persue you or put there hands on you, so you are free to walk away and talk shit to them if desired.

    Comment by friend | October 7, 2007

  10. This is just not true. In most states (most not all) a merchant has a right to detain in effort to investigate a potential loss that has occured. If store security observes a theft, in most states (again not all) they can use reasonable force to detain.

    Comment by nope | October 26, 2007

  11. Kmart stinks. I worked at one as a teenager, me a stupid teen and within 5 months I’m employee of the month, a part time, high school student, kicking a$$ over all these loser redneck full time “employees”.

    No pride at that store, just a paycheck. Lousy service, junk items. Everything is breaking down all the time. Dwid, Round Ron, Sid Laborda, Buzzards Crotch, Froggy, and that really cool dude working in the toys section who was best friends with Herve Villechaize, oh yeah and Dillard, he sued those bastahds for $5k and won.

    Comment by KFart | May 28, 2008

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